Why You Should Avoid Metacritic

TechRaptor - At one time or another I’m (Andrew Otton) sure we have all found ourselves looking at Metacritic. Sometimes we are only looking for some of the most critically acclaimed games for a particular year, another time we may just be looking at past popular games to get an idea of something we may be interested in, and yet another time we may, hopefully not too often, go to Metacritic so that we can use it as a tool for judging the worthiness of a game.

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mikeslemonade1492d ago (Edited 1492d ago )

Yes, use Gamerankings instead for more accuracy since it accounts for the two extra decimal places in the store.

admiralvic1492d ago

"since it accounts for the two extra decimal places in the store."

Two decimal places really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. I mean, if you're going to avoid a game because it scored a 69.00, but buy another game because it scored a 69.99, then you're taking scores WAY too seriously.

Magicite1492d ago

I am also using , its a site where players give ranking to games and quite accurate ones, also theres plenty of interesting info.

linkenski1492d ago

No because it accounts for less review sites.

admiralvic1492d ago

While I think the stuff about the averages is interesting, I really doubt as much effort really goes into the average process as the author is suggesting. In a lot of ways I think it's all a lot of PR speak for "we have an advance algorithm that makes our averages a lot more meaningful than they actually are". For sake of argument, I took a look at Flower (PS4) on MC, which has a score of 91 and if you add up the scores and then divide by the number of reviews it comes out to 91.18 or the score that MC displays. Now, I don't have the time to look over every score to make sure they all match, though I doubt they would put a different score on their site if the site had a score in the first place.

In either case, neither of these things are what I consider "wrong" with Metacritic. For me, the biggest problem is that Metacritic is basically a fruit bowl and while the bowl has apples, oranges, bananas, maybe a mango and other things, they're all treated as a pear.By this I mean there is a different stats and figures, which are all changed to conform to new data and can result in skewed figures. To give you an idea, MC has a lot of sites that review games on different ratios. 1 out of 100 / 10 / 5, A - E / F, good or bad and in some cases nothing. Now, there are some people that claim that an 80, 8 and 4 mean different things, even though they're divisibly the same (4/5 or 8/10 or 80/100 is still 80%) and this maybe true. A lot of sites also toy with what exactly is considered "average", which varies from some saying it's 5 out of 10 (median), PSLS considers it a 6, several gamers and outlets consider it a 7 and Metacritic requires a 75/100 average to be "green" (this is like 61+ in every other medium). So, even if all the sites are giving the game "average" scores across the board, it still might be tanked by sites scoring things differently. Another problem I've heard of is letter graders are typically assigned a 1 / 5 score, so a C is 50, A is 100 and E is 0, which can VASTLY change the average, even though I've heard sites that consider an E as a 5/10 by default. Then there is Quarter to Three, which is based off how much the guy likes the game and crap like that shouldn't be on MC in the first place, as I consider it less helpful and relevant than even some troll reviews on Amazon or Best Buy...

Arguably another big issue with MC is that everything is viewed as something of a "snapshot". As the article mentions, they constantly talk about quality, but sites are typically only evaluated once and put on the site from then until the end of time. The problem with that is the site can change a lot in a couple of months and some writers might not meet Metacritic "standards", though they're listed simply because they work for a prestigious site. This is somewhat problematic, since it largely defeats the point of having an approval process in the first place.

I can keep getting into problems with Metacritic, but in the end it's hard to make a system that works without a lot of time and effort, which typically isn't feasible for any site. In the end, "smart" readers should find people that match their beliefs and trust their reviews or simply avoid reviews in the first place. After doing the critic thing for a number of years, there is a lot of backdoor / politics / biases / side factors that come into play and make many reviews questionable at best.

Aotton1492d ago

I completely agree. I wrote the article and after rereading it a few times I felt like there was another point I was missing, but I couldn't remember it or find it in any of my notes I keep around. I also think that one of Metacritic's biggest issues is the way that it "modifies" other sites scores to conform with theirs to then give a average. Like you said, that manipulates results to a huge degree.

UltraNova1492d ago (Edited 1492d ago )

I agree on both accounts. Another thing to consider which incidentally falls into the conspiracy theory spectrum is the fact surrounding the secrecy of how they weigh each site. Its obvious they need to protect proprietary code or whatever it is but one could question the fact that it’s a way for them to get ‘motivated’ by directly interested parties into favoring one site over the other, E.g. a site giving a game a 7 over the other who give's it a 9.

Maybe that was the point missing and I can see why you could 'forget' it.

Then again I might be exaggerating...

When all is said and done I think we should take MC with a grain of salt. Same goes for VGchartz.

choujij1492d ago (Edited 1492d ago )

The metacritic score will only be as good as the review publications it's taken from (Ex. IGN, EGM, etc.).

I much prefer the site's user scores. It's usually a lot more in line with how much I would rate the game. While it can sometimes be a little one sided (if there's only a few user reviews,) when it's in the thousands, often times it really exposes a lot of "over-rated" critic review scores.

ginsunuva1492d ago

The only people who post user scores these days are fanboys who give only 10s and 0s

cfc781492d ago

I always like to judge a game myself peoples tastes differ i only use scores of any type as a guideline.

Incipio1492d ago

And the world keeps on spinning.

HugoDrax1492d ago (Edited 1492d ago )

I like to judge a game for myself, 'm currently going through my backlog. Just finished playing Brutal Legends, and now I'm currently playing Kane & Lynch....Literally playing a game released in 2007. Approximately 25 more games to go after I complete this one.

mochachino1492d ago

Woah. You either buy too many games or have too little time to play them.

HugoDrax1492d ago

Both hahaha...too little time because I'm an architect. I have all 3 next gen consoles ( Wii U, XB1, PS4 ) and recently ordered my VITA just too game on the go.

I literally just popped in Watchmen: The End is Nigh...Had it since release and this is the first time I'm getting to try it out hahaha. I don't think I'll get to complete every game, but I do want to test each one out this year.

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